By Editor Wayne Veysey
Arsenal are plotting a move for a new central midfielder in the January transfer window as they prepare to offload Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini, Football Insider sources understand.
The Gunners are not expected to make many changes to their squad as they step up their Premier League challenge but they are in the market for a midfield lynchpin.
As reported by Football Insider yesterday, veteran midfield pair Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini are expected to be released when their contracts expire next summer.
Sources have said that Arsene Wenger has instructed Arsenal scouts to find a top-class midfielder who could be available in the winter window.
It is understood that the London club know they will not be able to land a first-team regular at a genuine Champions League challenger midway through the season.
But Arsenal will push for a player in the £20million bracket who could slot straight into their first-team squad and immediately challenge for a regular starting spot.
Wenger’s two first-choice central midfielders over the last 10 months have been Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla.
However, Cazorla turns 31 in December and veteran midfield anchormen Arteta and Flamini are out of contract at the end of the season.
It is understood that Arsenal have no plans to offer extended deals to the pair, who are aged 33 and 31 respectively.
The Londoners will listen to offers for Flamini in January although they will only sell him if a replacement is secured. Club captain Arteta is more likely to stay on until the end of the campaign.